Making sure every vehicle you own or drive is correctly insured is, of course, a legal requirement and it is something most people know about. However, if you own a van you may not know about private van insurance and all the rules surrounding it.
If you drive a van for pleasure rather than any kind of work or business then it is classed as a private van. You may use it to go surfing or mountain biking; it may be a vehicle you use to transport your motorbike for races or motocross. Whatever you use it for, if it doesn’t earn you any money and it is not part of a business then it is private use. What a lot of people don’t know is that you should have specific private van insurance if this is how you use your van.
Do I need private van insurance?
If you use your own van for any activates that are not related to earning money or any kind of business then you need private van insurance.
If you transport goods for money, drive people for money or in any way generate income from driving or using your private van then it becomes a commercial vehicle and must be insured as such.
Private van insurance covers everything you would expect a normal insurance policy to cover. There are the usual 3 levels of cover from 3rd party to 3rd Party Fire and Theft and Fully Comprehensive. As with cars 3rd party cover only covers you for any damage or injury caused to the other people in any kind of crash and not your own vehicle. Fire and Theft is the same as 3rd party but does cover you if your private van is stolen or catches fire.
Again, as with car insurance, fully comprehensive cover not only covers others involved in an incident it also covers your own private van. This means any damage you sustain will be covered provided the agreed excess is met. Vans can be expensive and fully comprehensive cover is certainly the best option if your budget will stretch to it.
Commuting in a private van?
If you use your van to drive to and from a single place of work this becomes commercial use and will need a different type of cover. Unlike cars there is no set social and commuting insurance cover so it is important to clearly state your planned use when searching for insurance using Confused.com.
Insuring for part of the year?
Another important change to private van insurance is that it is no longer legal to insure a private van for only part of the year. The Continual Insurance Enforcement rules mean private vans must have insurance regardless of if they are being used or not.
Van driving licences for private use
Many people wrongly assume they are legally allowed to drive any kind of private van but this is not actually the case. A full UK driving license allows anyone to drive a van up to 3,500 kg or 3.5 tonnes.
This allowance also covers up to nine seats including the driver’s seat. Any van at or under this level is known as a light goods vehicle. This maximum weight is an important threshold because anything over this amount is classed as a Cat 1 vehicle.
If you got your full license before 1997 you will automatically be allowed to drive a C1 van, however, if you got it after 1997 you will have to apply for a specific C1 license and take a test. It is critical you are aware of this if you are thinking of buying and driving a large private van because you may find you are not legally allowed to do so.
How to get cheap private van insurance
As with all motoring insurance the right way to get the best deal is to compare a number of quotes. Luckily, Confused.com can do this for you in a matter of seconds. It is, however, very important to be completely truthful about the facts relating to your intended use of the private van and the van itself.
If you do not take out the correct business cover for commuting and have an accident you may find your policy invalidated. Make sure you carefully think about what you are going to use your van for and make sure you consider any potential financial earnings coming from the van use.
A good example here is a band using a van. Initially they do not get paid for gigs but as they get better they may start earning money. This change would mean a change in insurance and a move away from private van insurance. Changing a policy like this is easy and simply involves some alterations and a fresh quote.
Private vans are becoming more and more popular. They make a perfect vehicle for extreme sports fans, families and musicians but also people with dogs and more. These load luggers allow people to easily pack large amounts of equipment and take it anywhere. Vans are also far easier to drive than they once were and a lot more comfortable too.
Make sure you can enjoy your private van with the peace of mind you have the right insurance cover for how you use it so you are completely covered if something were to happen to you or other road users.
Learn more about the different ways you could reduce the cost of van insurance.